To decide if it is rude to ask someone if they are rich, factors such as tone of voice, the purpose for which the question is asked, how close you are to the person, the place, and the context in which it is, should be considered.
The truth is that truly wealthy people will have no problem answering this question, so it’s not rude to ask someone if they are rich. But some cultures have maintained the idea that talking about money is rude.
Many people are prejudiced when it comes to talking about money, but this has a very simple explanation. When someone is offended by this question, it means that they are poorly educated, but financially, because those who are financially rich do not feel bad about being so.
There is a belief that money issues should not be discussed openly, but rich people have shed these beliefs about money, otherwise, they would not be rich people.
The problem occurs when we ask people who are not rich, who live a certain lifestyle “like rich”, but through debt or spending all they earn without having a net worth to support their wealth or their standard of living. Wealth is not measured by what someone earns, but by net wealth.
In the same way, you always have to contextualize how these questions are asked, because asking them in an inappropriate context can result in uncomfortable questions, and you will not get the answer you expect.
Asking if someone is rich is simply a question that allows you to know an important aspect of a person’s life. And there is nothing wrong with it. But knowing how to ask is an art, and it is important to find a way to ask this question correctly.
Tips for asking if someone is rich
You already have the question you want to ask in your hands, but before saying it, evaluate the situation you are in.
1. Does your question has to do with the topic of conversation?
Before asking the question about whether someone is rich, you should evaluate if the conversation you are having allows it.
Is my question related to the topics we are talking about now? If not, your question would be completely out of context, indicating that this is not the right time to ask.
2. What is the answer?
If on the contrary, the conversation is appropriate because it has to do with what you want to ask, before doing it you should think about why you want to ask that question. I mean, why is knowing the answer going to help you?
When there is an important reason, and the answer is going to help you, then you can move on to the next step.
Questions that are asked just out of curiosity and out of context will make you look rude and lacking in common sense.
3. Think of the right environment
Asking if someone is rich is something quite personal, therefore you must evaluate the time and place where you are going to do it. The best idea is to ask when you are alone with that person, and not expose them to answer in front of other people.
For sure we do not know how the person will take this question and if to explain his situation he must talk about personal issues. If your answer is influenced by the people around you, then you won’t get such a rich answer.
Asking when you are alone with this person makes the question result in an open conversation and allows you to learn about another person’s views on their financial wealth.
Context and level of trust
Many people have been taught that talking about money, saying how much they earn or asking if someone is rich, is rude. But in reality, it all depends on the context of the question and the trust that exists with that person.
It is not wise to ask someone when you just met when they are just introducing you or getting to know this person because there is still no level of trust between you.
To get to the point of broaching the subject of money and whether the person is wealthy, they must first trust you and your intentions. So, take into account the tips mentioned above and then decide to ask.
If it is a person you already know, and with whom you have a certain level of trust, it should not be an obstacle. Asking this question will make the level of trust between you rise.
This question becomes necessary if you have a type of relationship with this person, be it a friend, partner, or even work colleague.
The ability to speak on this topic is directly related to the level of trust that exists between you.
For example, it is normal for couples to ask themselves this question if they feel that their partner has a lifestyle that appears to be that of a wealthy person. It should be a question that is asked out of interest – the same as asking about an education level.
It is also okay to ask a friend if she or he is rich; they will possibly tell you about how they have obtained their fortune and will help you understand how they think. You will have the opportunity to enrich yourself with their teachings and friendship.
Create an open question
After keeping these tips in mind, there is nothing that should prevent you from asking the question you have on your mind.
But something that will help us a lot so that the person we ask does not feel uncomfortable, is to have an appropriate tone of voice.
To achieve a good, friendly, and open tone of voice, you must release yourself from tension. If you feel that this will be an awkward question, you will likely be asking the question in an uneasy tone of voice.
You must accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with asking if a person is rich, and that on the contrary, this question could result in an enriching conversation for you and that person.
Also, an appropriate tone of voice makes the question open and not closed, this means that you can influence through your tone of voice the disposition that the person has to answer.
An answer such as a simple “yes or no” will not be of much use to you, the idea is that said person can answer openly and tell you things about why they are rich, why not, or how their process is being to become a rich person.
Releasing the tension by asking will release the tension in the throat, and therefore we will not transmit insecurity when asking. Your natural and safe voice will transmit security to the person you are asking, and this will positively influence their answer.
If you’re still not sure, rephrase it so it doesn’t seem like a question.
How to ask the right question? Example
It is best to ask questions that are concise and clear; avoiding long ones that can get too confusing.
The person must understand your question clearly. Questions are an opportunity to have another person argue their answer with relevant information.
Remember to convey confidence in your tone of voice, and do it with a gentle tone.
To know if a person is rich, you don’t have to ask a long question to explain your intentions or anything like that. Your tone of voice and confidence will make the other person understand that your question is something important.
At this point, when you are about to ask the question, the context of the conversation is right to do so, and this is your chance. You can start by saying:
“Since we talked about this, I would like to know if you consider yourself a rich person.”
Ask a question that is simple, blunt, and without much explanation. The person will begin to speak if they consider themselves a rich person, why, and you will learn much more about their economic level if they are a rich person or what kind of work they do.
Rich people don’t find it offensive to talk about money
There is a belief that asking about money can be uncomfortable because money is still a taboo topic for many people and talking openly about it makes them uncomfortable and wary of telling the truth.
However, this does not happen with rich people, since they have become rich because they have a connection with money, they look for it, they like it and they do not feel bad about having money.
Most people find this question impolite because it is about someone else’s private life. But this is not necessarily true if the question is asked in the right context, place, and with the right people.
In addition, asking this question to someone who we think is at a high economic level, will allow you to talk about your situation and give excellent advice on how to achieve the financial goals that you have.
This is a topic that should be discussed freely between friends, partners, or colleagues. When there is a taboo to ask, it is because you have a wrong belief about money.
For example, someone may have the belief that “money is dirty”, and this person will have a problem talking about money. These are nothing more than limiting beliefs regarding economic wealth.
Is it rude to call someone rich?
Calling someone rich before that person has represented themselves as wealthy is uncomfortable for that person and is therefore perceived as rude. It is like simply calling a person poor without context.
Of course, if the person has previously described themselves as wealthy in the past, this is not a problem. It is only when you transfer your assessment of wealth or poverty to another person without being asked that it quickly becomes rude.
After all, wealth means different things to different people. In addition, you reduce the other person with this statement to a specific condition, which leaves other important character traits unconsidered for the time being.
(In this context is also the term “posh” about whose origin and use we have written a complete article).
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.